TFC Monsta

Posted: June 8, 2009 in Radiators

After about a month’s worth of tinkering and testing, I think I’m finally done..

Here is the information I’ve gathered on my new toy, the TFC Monsta. It is an expensive, but very nice and top performing radiator. I haven’t tested a bunch of triples, but I have tested a few. It’s become pretty clear to me that test results can really only accurately be compared when they are on the same test bench.

I’ve also in the process of testing learned a few things about testing and ended up changing my test method as a results. In particular, I think it’s much more accurate and appropriate to calculate C/W values on radiators that are specific to “Water Average” as opposed to “Water Out”. The reason being that “Water Out” depends on flow rate and it also depends on heat dissipated. “Water Average between inlet and outlet” on the other hand is not, it eliminates the delta between inlet and outlet since it’s an average of the two.

Anyhow, long story short. This round uses a “Water Average” method which is different from my old testing. I did however recalculate the heat dissipated for a couple of triple radiators I previously tested.

OK, so enough of that, let’s get on with it. Being a camera nut as well, I may as well give you some eye candy. After all, aesthetics and visual is a big part of water cooling anymore, to some more than others.

Here is the Monsta Packaging, it’s it very nice and gives a nice first impression:

But more important to me is the “Protection” effort. Each end of the radiator is completely encompassed by a custom foam end piece. Take note that even the barbs, plugs, screws, and fluid each have their own compartment. This attention to detail in packaging should ensure the radiator is protected, not only from outside damage but also from loose barbs. That’ not something I’ve experienced before, but I have read a few threads where someone had damage done to a radiator from loose barbs in the package. That can’t happen with this sort of protection.:up:

And this is the accessory package. Of particular note the very nicely made custom rubber gaskets that work as a shroud and noise/vibration isolation. Unlike cheap foam gaskets, these can easily be removed and reused without sticking to or requiring cleanup. The rubber gaskets even have steps to perfectly match the radiator ends where the sides step down to the top/bottom.

And the package comes with some 3/8″ x 1/2″ compression fittings and G1/4″ plugs for the secondary ports. Finally it comes with two sets of screws for fans, short ones for fans that are open ended and longer ones for 25mm thickness fans.

Speaking of barbs, if you want 1/2″ x 3/4″ compressions, you either need these or some extensions to make standard ones to fit.

These TFC fitting are pretty nice and oversized though, the inlet side has a nice taper bore to better match the tubing ID for reduced restriction.

And here are some general pictures for scale:

Yeah it’s BIG!..almost makes my 480’s look a bit smallish..

Standing it up next to my TFC480 for relative comparison:

OK, so how does this thing flow. It has 4 rows worth of tubes 14 across for a total of 56 TUBES!

For reference most slim thickness radiators have 10 or 12 depending on width, and most double thickness types have 24 tubes. The Monsta has twice that many....

This team of 56 tubes is also why this radiator is soo free flowing as I found during my pressure drop testing:

Pressure drop results:

And a quick comparison to some others I’ve tested:

It doesn’t get better than that. While radiators in general are very free flowing, this is exceptionally free flowing.

For scale, the TFC Monsta at 2GPM has a pressure drop of .3PSI
A swiftech GTZ for comparison at 2GPM has a pressure drop of about 5.0PSI

So you could run about 15 of these radiators together in series before it would add up to the restriction of just one GTZ block!

It is that low…:up:

And here are some of the new Triebwerk fans, they are extremely nice.

Really nice casting quality:

A continuation of the MONSTA theme..

The fans are unique from other fans in several areas. In particular, they have a built in shroud, a cone shaped and smaller hub, and generally much less dead spot than your typical fan. Here is an active area comparison I sketched up:

Here are some videos to listen to the fans:


YouTube – R3 TFC Triebwerk TK 121


YouTube – R3 Triebwerk TFC TK 122

OK enough of that, how about thermals you might ask?
On with the bench testing:

I used my old radiator testing bench with the crystalfontz, 8 air in sensors, 4 air out sensors, one water in, and one water out. For pumping I used a DDC 3.2 with SWC top, and controlled flow rate to 1.5GPM as I’ve done before. I did try to do one preliminary test to see what sort of flow rate effects I could measure, but it was pretty much flat from .5GPM to 3.5GPM. So unlike water blocks, radiators are not very sensetive to flow rate even big quad thickness types like this.

And after 20+ 2-3 hour runs, this is what I found:

UPDATED 6-21-09 (Added some 140mm fan runs)

First the raw averaged data collected. These are all the average of the logged run data after reaching stabilization:

And the 10C heat dissipated chart (Water Average being used here)

Here is the estimator chart for figuring out what delta you can expect for particular heat loads and corresponding fan lines:
First the 120mm fans:

Second the 140mm fans:

And the C/W charts. I don’t really like these as much as the heat dissipated, it tends to give you the impression that they are the same at higher RPMs…

And finally a comparison with some triple radiators I’ve previously tested and recalculated per the “Water Average” method.
The blue bubbles are comparing apples to apples with the same exact 120mm fans at exactly the same RPM
The red bubbles are showing how some Koolance 140mm fans compare. This is no longer an apples to apples fan power comparison, but it does give you a good indication how some 140mm fans compare. As you might expect, there is a noteworthy gain by using 140mm fans per RPM.

Bottom line, it’s very strong in performance and particularly strong with higher strength fans where the extra thickness and surface area gives the largest gains. In addition, it appears 140mm fans give about another 10+% gain over using 25mm fans when comparing RPM. I suspect running 140mm fans in push/pull on the radiator would gain a fair amount more as well.

Now I just need to work on building some brackets for my Torture rack. The two 480’s now have some “MONSTA” company…


  1. Joel says:

    Hey Great work man

    Speaking on behalf of all water cooling madman


    Keep up the great work man

  2. MorroW says:

    Thanks for best reviews what I have seen around. Really nice work 🙂